A Sustainable Townhouse Renovation
A sustainable townhouse renovation by JPDA, preserving a historic narrative while adding a new chapter. Reflecting its transitional South Brooklyn neighborhood surroundings, this derelict two-family townhouse charmed with an eclectic mosaic of period details peeking out through layers of quirky patchwork renovations and decay. Working with the artist client and his filmmaker wife, JPDA developed a a three-fold strategy akin to a medical intervention: First, modify the layout and functionality of the spaces by a series of surgical removals and insertions, the traces of which would be fully acknowledged in the detailing. Secondly, resuscitate the existing historic texture of the house in an unapologetically raw sensibility, emphasizing materials and process. The old would in no way try to look new, and the new would in no way try to blend into the old. The unity would come from the raw and eclectic material palette. Finally, upgrade all the infrastructure of the house, including new efficient systems and building envelope. Preserved molding, woodwork and parquet floors were stripped and sealed in a natural oil finish. Where floors were repaired and walls removed, contrasting wooden patches preserve a record of the historic narrative of the house. The layout was updated with modern open spaces, a master suite with walk-in closet and a precisely engineered film editing suite. Where incisions and removals were made, Ash wood boards, set with minimalist reveals, act as ‘tissue grafts.’ New fixtures and finishes include built-in millwork and appliances, Moroccan tiles, and eclectic wallpapers – all complemented by the couple’s art collection and site specific installations. Enlarged windows, new skylights, and recycled glass wall partitions flood natural light into the bedrooms, living and work spaces. Throughout the process, JPDA ensured a focus on sustainability pervaded both the construction as well as ongoing lifecycle of the house. Waste was minimized via the extensive reuse and repurposing of on-site materials and existing elements such as doors, trim and millwork. All materials were sustainably sourced and all finishes were natural and/or zero-VOC. The updated infrastructure features a new high-efficiency HVAC system, new insulation and glazing throughout, as well as a 2Kw rooftop solar photovoltaic array.